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School board politics: It’s not about party

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

There are no Rs or Ds on local school board ballots. Board members are elected on a non-partisan basis, and despite some past saber rattling from the Red-to-the-Roots crowd, it doesn’t appear that Republicans are preparing to change that status. This probably makes Knox County school board chair Patti Bounds happy.

For Bounds, a conservative who was raised Republican, it’s educational philosophy, not party lines that divide the board, the majority of whom oppose much of the reform agenda favored at the state and national levels.

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Landscaping project comes to life

Sandra Clark
Editor

Hearty back-slaps and big grins were in order as the Powell Business & Professional Association presented a check for $5,497 for landscaping to Knox County at the PBPA meeting last week. Jim Snowden, assistant director of Engineering & Public Works, accepted the funds.

Kim Severance thanked the PBPA “for holding this money sacred for almost 10 years,” and Snowden said the landscaping project on Emory Road at I-75 was the vision of Lillian Williams, who “raised matching funds for the grant back in 2008 and 2009.”

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‘Supremes’ singer Mary Wilson to visit Knoxville

Carol Shane
Features columnist

Pop singers come and go, some trailing clouds of glory, some disappearing after their allotted 15 minutes. Few have as generous a heart as Mary Wilson of the Supremes, who will perform as part of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s News Sentinel Pops Series on Feb. 4.

Wilson has graciously agreed to appear as a guest speaker at the Sister to Sister conference of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Greater Knoxville Chapter (NCBW, Greater Knoxville) at the Phyllis Wheatley Center earlier that same day.

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Knox greenways have new driver

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Tim Hester, former city manager of Norris, has been hired as the new greenways coordinator for the city of Knoxville. He started to work this week.

Brian Hann, active chair of the city greenway commission, praised the choice, saying, “I look forward to seeing him in action.”

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See how to run

Nick Della Volpe
Features columnist

Should you seek one of the five Knoxville City Council seats up for election this year? The primary is just seven months away. You and your family must decide if you have the time and the inclination to serve.

To start: Examine your district boundaries at knoxmpc.org. Visit knoxvotes.org for rules and forms. Get a petition signed by at least 25 registered voters from your district (get 50 to be safe). Appoint a treasurer before you raise or spend the first dime.

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The gift of snow

Lynn Pitts
Faith Columnist

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out of my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

(Isaiah 55:10-11 NRSV)

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How to achieve ‘red to the roots’

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Like a football team that goes for a touchdown in the waning minutes of a 50-12 game, rumbles have begun that the state’s legislative GOP supermajority is looking to take over the last frontiers left for them to conquer – city governments and school boards.

How? By making those elections partisan. And that would be a mistake. (Let’s save the school boards discussion for another day.)

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Brantley undecided on seeking re-election

Sandra Clark
Editor

A political conundrum has surfaced two years ahead of the 2018 elections.

Knox County Commissioner Ed Brantley confirmed Monday that he’s undecided on whether to seek re-election to Seat 11, one of two at-large seats on the commission. Former commissioner R. Larry Smith has already named a treasurer and is raising money as a candidate for Seat 11.

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